Summit executive panel recap: Digital transformation in practice

Summit executive panel recap: Digital transformation in practice

At our recent Hearsay Summit,  industry thought leaders Sherina Smith, CMO of American Family Insurance, Zach Gipson, Head of Digital Investor Solutions at Charles Schwab, and Rohit Mahna, Head of Client Growth at Fidelity Institutional, shared their insights on digital transformation in an executive panel discussion facilitated by Kimberly Dieter Miller, LinkedIn’s Vice President of Sales for North America.

In their conversation, our panelists highlighted three vital building blocks for executing  on digital transformation, which we share below.

Customer centricity must be the anchor 

Opportunities to digitize the client experience are countless. With tech around every corner to solve every problem, teams are inundated with digital tools. So, how can firms prioritize use of these tools? Simply put,  by anchoring on the customer. 

It sounds elementary, but it’s easy to get caught up in the motions of implementing new technology and lose sight of the ultimate goal: creating simple, straightforward experiences that help clients. Changing the organizational mindset to focus on the client means  thinking from the outside in, and putting the voice of the customer at the center to help internal teams understand how, when, and where they want to engage with your firm.  Firms and individuals that move at the speed of the customer can leverage the right digital tools to create the best possible experience, and will be equipped to exceed customer expectations.

Don’t forget the human side 

Digital transformation is more than just technology; teams play an integral role behind the scenes. Oftentimes, we overlook the human side of transformation when the emphasis and focus is on the technology, but failing to consider the impact on people and processes is a major misstep. 

It’s critical to deeply understand how changes may impact the roles of people currently performing those tasks. How will the corporate team’s process need to adjust? What impact will the technology have on the field and their daily motions? How will the customer need to interact with the brand and field differently? Seamlessly blending these moving pieces is integral to successful digital transformation. 

A few tips to ease the transition: communicate, communicate, communicate;  be crisp and clear; and lead with empathy.

Be intentional about your approach to change management

Change is hard, and enduring constant change over the last two years has both expanded and exhausted our ability and willingness to adjust. So how can you be more intentional in your approach to change management? 

One idea is to designate agents of change. Identify folks that will be directly impacted by the changes, include them in the project to gather first-party feedback, and enlist them to help with the rollout of the new process. (Be sure to consider all of the players.)  Also, consider adopting a change management framework to help those impacted identify where they fall on the adoption curve, as this can inform the anticipated speed and scale for the rollout and help process owners determine  whether they need to continue procuring buy-in.

Most importantly, design a clear feedback loop. Don’t stop at simply creating an open forum for feedback; design a process for reviewing, validating, and incorporating feedback to ensure continuous improvement and alignment with impacted teams. Often, the bulk of the work is directed towards operationalizing the new technology with the expectation that users will adapt, but leaving change management up to chance will most certainly sabotage the plan. 

The digital transformation race is a marathon, not a sprint. Leading with the customer first, considering the human impact of the digital evolution, and creating a thoughtful and informed approach to change management will help ensure you’re keeping pace with the expectations of your customers and internal teams. 

View this and other sessions from Hearsay Summit 2022 to hear how experts are forging a new path in financial services.

Marisa Ruffles
As Senior Director of Marketing, Marisa leads the product, customer and account-based marketing teams at Hearsay. When she’s not belting out karaoke tunes, you can find her in the zone, taking in Connecticut’s country roads on her Honda Ruckus.

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